A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Children of the Corn is filled with bloody violence, including a wholesale massacre of adults by their own children. The portrayal of a community run by kids who have killed all the parents isn't remotely pleasant or idealized, but it's still disturbing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A shocking tone is set from the start of CHILDREN OF THE CORN, as kids in the incredibly insular and religious farming town of Gatlin, Nebraska, methodically poison, bludgeon, slash, and kill their parents and take over. Three years later, a young doctor (Peter Horton) and his wife (Linda Hamilton) stumble across Gatlin's secret in the worst way, running over a mortally wounded boy trying to escape. Bloody religious icons on the victim lead the couple to investigate the desolate town. Eventually, they learn that all of the kids belong to a strict cult founded by Isaac (John Franklin), an influential boy preacher who forbids music and games and leads Christian-like worship of "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," a demonic entity that demands human sacrifice of anyone over 18.
Is it any good?
With a chanting soundtrack and an effectively creepy sunlit vibe, this film does raise some shudders -- then wrecks the momentum with cheap gore and a feeble finale. Depending on what the low-budget special effects allow, He Who Walks Behind the Rows sometimes looks like a burrowing underground shape, a weird cloud, or a glowing cartoon. Far scarier are the juvenile actors, who really do a good job making the "children of the corn" a threatening tribe of youthful fanatics with farm-implement weapons.
Besides killer kids, Children of the Corn manipulates anxieties and stereotypes about the American heartland. Instead of Satanists, with their goat horns and red capes, this group is a caricature of ultra-conservative and Evangelical churches, resembling the Amish or Mennonites -- that is, before they transform into a child cult that crucifies victims on corn stalks.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Children of the Corn's ultimate message, that fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist Christianity (at least Hollywood's stereotype of it) has let the barn door open for a demonic force to enter and take over rural Gatlin, Nebraska. Those in religious households can check out the Bible passages that this movie uses to support its dire warning about false prophets. On the whole, is this movie favorable to faith or against it?
For kids who love scary movies
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.